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Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs


Overview :

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation, but they do not cure the diseases or injuries responsible for these problems. Two drugs in this category, ibuprofen and naproxen, also reduce fever. Some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be bought over the counter; others are available only with a prescription from a physician or dentist.

Among the drugs in this group are diclofenac (Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), flurbiprofen (Ansaid), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Rufen), ketorolac (Toradol), nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Naprosyn); naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan); and oxaprozin (Daypro). They are sold as tablets, capsules, caplets, liquids, and rectal suppositories and some are available in chewable, extended-release, or delayed-release forms.

A newer group of NSAIDs known as COX-2 inhibitors are being used successfully to treat patients with allergic reactions to the older NSAIDs. Their name comes from the fact that they block an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, which is involved in the inflammation pathway. The COX-2 inhibitors are also less likely to affect the patient's digestive tract. They include such drugs as celecoxib (Celebrex), rofecoxib (Vioxx), etoricoxib (Arcoxia), and valdecoxib (Bextra). With regard to cancer treatment, some studies indicate that the use of COX-2 inhibitors may postpone the need to prescribe narcotic medications for severe pain.

Recommended dosage

Recommended doses vary, depending on the patient, the type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug prescribed, the condition for which the drug is prescribed, and the form in which it is used. Always take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs exactly as directed. If using non-prescription (over-the-counter) types, follow the directions on the package label. For prescription types, check with the physician who prescribed the medicine or the pharmacist who filled the prescription. Never take larger or more frequent doses, and do not take the drug for longer than directed. Patients who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for severe arthritis must take them regularly over a long time. Several weeks may be needed to feel the results, so it is important to keep taking the medicine, even if it does not seem to be working at first.

When taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in tablet, capsule, or caplet form, always take them with a full, 8-ounce glass of water or milk. Taking these drugs with food or an antacid will help prevent stomach irritation.




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